European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 21 - Number 4
Eur J Anat, 21 (4): 319-324 (2017)

Supported self-directed learning of Clinical Anatomy: a pilot study of doughnut rounds

Yimeng Zhang1, Marie A. Zerafa Simler1*, Isabel Stabile2

1Medical Student, University of Malta Medical School, 2Professor, Department of Anatomy, University of Malta

ABSTRACT Doughnut Rounds (DRs) are an innovative approach to self-directed learning (SDL). The purpose of this study was to explore the usefulness of DRs in learning the clinical anatomy of the lower limb. Seventeen Year 1 medical students attended six weekly hour-long sessions in small groups. Each student prepared five questions on a different clinical anatomy topic every week. During each session, students took turns to ask their questions to others in the group. Each incorrect/correct answer was then explained to the students. Each student took an identical MCQ test before and after each session to assess changes in their knowledge of the relevant clinical anatomy. The average pre/post MCQ scores increased by 39% (p<0.01). Overall there was no statistically significant difference in the summative lower limb final examination results between DR participants and non-participants, perhaps because the effect, if any, of the DRs on learning was diluted by good exam preparation of the whole cohort. However, participation in the DRs reflected insignificant improvement in both written and practical final examination results in those students who were previously behind academically in their final end-of-semester exam results, when compared with non-participants in the same cohort. The majority of students either agreed or strongly agreed that the sessions improved their anatomical knowledge (87%) and confidence (77%). The great majority also agreed that the sessions were enjoyable, that formulating questions aided in their retention of knowledge, and that the sessions were valuable in relation to the time and effort in preparing for them.Formulating, asking and answering questions during Doughnut Rounds improve students’ anatomical knowledge in an effective and enjoyable manner. We believe that this type of SDL can be applied to any number of topics across various medical disciplines.

Keywords: Clinical Anatomy – Medical Education – Collaborative/Peer-to-peer teaching – Small group teaching – Self-directed learning – Near peer-assisted learning

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)